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OK Cole "OKCole" (Perth, Scotland)

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4x 25w 300° Degree E14 OVEN LAMP Light Bulb 230V Teflon Coated & Internally Fused. by Value Concepts
4x 25w 300° Degree E14 OVEN LAMP Light Bulb 230V Teflon Coated & Internally Fused. by Value Concepts
Offered by LightingandMobileAccessoriesUK
Price: £3.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Now on the 4th bulb after < 4 months: caveat emptor. I won't be buying them again., 4 Mar. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Light bulbs are simple to rate - they work or they don't. I opened the packet, inserted the first one and it blew. Tried a second and it was OK. Time will tell how long it lasts. Delivered promptly and packaged appropriately.

Update: the second bulb blew only 2 months after being installed. Normally, these bulbs should have a lifetime of thousands of hours. Mood shift: initial optimism, early disappointed, frustration ... what's next and when?

End of June: now on the 4th bulb. Pretty useless product.


Age of Kill
Age of Kill
Dvd
Price: £0.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Better to have "killed" this film before release, 16 Dec. 2015
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This review is from: Age of Kill (DVD)
This will be short and not particularly sweet. It's probably the worst film I've watched this year. The plot is contrived, almost every scene contains a cliché of some sort, the acting is poor, the dialogue wooden .. I doubt if I need to elaborate. No danger of a spoiler alert: I gave up after 15 minutes. I haven't written a film review for a while but this was so bad I wanted to alert others to what's in store for them if they watch this film.


TomTom Rider v5 (Europe Maps, 4.3" Touchscreen)
TomTom Rider v5 (Europe Maps, 4.3" Touchscreen)

2.0 out of 5 stars With apologies to Longfellow: when it's good, it's very good but when it's bad, it's awful, 28 Sept. 2015
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The following comments are based on my experience using the TomTom Rider on a trip from Scotland to Istanbul for which I specifically bought it. I made my choice based on a combination of expert reviews in motorcycle and consumer publications as well as users’ feedback in various forums, users’ groups, etc. A decisive factor was the ease of use of its add-on PC route planning software, Tyre.

The product was easy to install and set up although the latter took longer than expected – several hours for the various downloads. With the help of the user manual, provided as a pdf file, it was fairly straightforward to get up and running at a basic level. And it was easy enough to create and upload a simple itinerary via Tyre. So far so good.

Strengths are point-point navigation, ease of use for motorcycling, wide range of features which are useful on a long trip, especially the comprehensive Points of Interest which were very helpful when it came to finding petrol stations and hotels. But there were also several weaknesses. The GPS signal disappeared occasionally, usually at awkward moments, e.g. in Leeds city centre and at a key intersection in the Black Forest in Germany. The “waypoint” feature is very inconsistent. It is supposed to act as a market on an itinerary but, instead, several times I found myself being diverted into a city centre and then straight out again often at the same intersection. The accuracy of speed limit indications varies from country to country, from being reasonably reliable (but not without errors) in countries like UK, France and Germany to totally useless in Turkey. Also, travelling across France, the product struggled to plot a route avoiding tolls roads. Eventually, I managed to to achieve this but then, I stopped briefly and, when I restarted, the device had completely reset itself, lost the route, trip history, selected user interface, etc. After that, it simply would not avoid toll roads until I was east of Paris. Another area of concern is identifying the correct roads at intersections with multiple off-roads closely spaced. The guidance can be misleading. I also encountered a couple of instances where the voice command indicated go in one direction, e.g. right, when the map and road signs clearly indicated the other, i.e. left.

But by far my biggest criticism concerns extreme abnormalities in route planning approaching and within Albania. As I approached the Albanian border from Dubrovnik, the device directed me up into a mountain road in Bosnia. Common sense told me this made no sense and, sure enough, riding back and checking at a fuel station on the main road, the owner told me most Albanians continue along the main road and enter Albania via Montenegro. Within Montenegro, the TomTom directed me onto a ferry without checking in spite of being programmed to “always ask”. No problem, as the ferry option was preferable but a slightly concerning lapse in software functionality. I eventually ended up crossing into Albania and arriving in Tirana after a few other minor hiccups. That when the serious problems started.

Planning next day’s route, heading south to Thessaloniki in Greece, I noticed it involved a detour into Macedonia which made no sense. So I plotted a couple of waypoints into the key arterial road south. (By this time, I had learned to mark a waypoint as “visited” as I approached it to avoid being taken unnecessarily into the city centre.) I had also set the device to “always avoid unpaved roads”. I spite of that, I was directed along a route with ~100kms of unpaved roads about half of which were in a mountainous region with a series a sharp hairpin bends, all involving very poor quality dirt roads. I have lived in a country in which dirt roads are normal and know how to deal with them, fortunately. These roads might have been tolerable with an off-road bike but were extremely difficult and dangerous with a 300+ kg sports tourer. I was and remain very angry at being exposed to such risks. Had it been raining, I believe the roads would have been impassable. As an aside to the risk of personal injury, I also believe my insurance and breakdown cover would have been invalidated had any incident occurred.

There is clearly a fundamental flaw in the TomTom route planning software. I am not sure if it is specific to Albania or might also involve other European countries with remote regions. Either way, it left me feeling very nervous about the product. Thereafter, I used Google Maps as my main planning tool, decided on the next day’s route, cross-checked it with the route indicated by the TomTom and used simple point-point navigation to get to my destination. In this way, there were no further uncharted adventures.

Difficult to give an overall rating. It works very well at point-point navigation but, then, most satnavs do. It has a wide range of useful features and is easy to operate on a motorcycle. Its route planning capability is superficially convenient but flawed and having the GPS signal disappear periodically is not reassuring. But my experience in Albania cannot be ignored. Overall, I’ll grudgingly allow it 2 * with the caveat that users approaching remote areas exercise extreme caution ,,,,and have Google Maps handy.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 15, 2015 9:29 AM BST


Mens braces wide adjustable and elastic suspenders Y shape with a very strong clips - Heavy duty (Red)
Mens braces wide adjustable and elastic suspenders Y shape with a very strong clips - Heavy duty (Red)
Offered by Decalen
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars First class product, 4 Jun. 2015
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First impressions are excellent. Delivery was very prompt and the packaging neat. As received , the braces were too short and needed lengthening (I'm just under 6'') but took only a few minutes to figure out and arrange. That being said, it might help to include a simple note in the packing explaining how to make adjustments as I've noted a few critical comments relating to the length. Once adjusted, the braces are comfortable, secure and effective. I bought them to wear with motorcycle pants which are relatively heavy with comfort being important when riding long distances. So far, I'm amply satisfied on both accounts and am very pleased with this purchase.


Grunwerg Benriner Mandolin
Grunwerg Benriner Mandolin
Offered by Three Arrows
Price: £19.54

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You get what you pay for, 30 Jan. 2015
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I have mixed opinions about this product. On the positive side, it has worked well on the few occasions I've used it but it has several limitations which discourage regular use. For one thing, it's too narrow to work with larger vegetables and fruit. Another problem is the limited - I'd go so far as to say inadequate - protection. The attachment which secures the item being sliced provides limited purchase; hence there are inevitable slips. Safety gloves are essential to avoid injury. There's no stand or tripod arrangement so the device needs to be held at an angle over a wide bowl or chopping board with one hand while the other operates the slide. Neither arrangement is particularly stable again increasing the possibility of injury. Finally, the instructions are in Japanese. OK - so it's not the most complicated device and doesn't take a lot of common sense to work out what to do but it's irritating. It may be relatively inexpensive but you get what you pay for: caveat emptor


Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914
Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914
by Max Hastings
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling account of the outbreak of the Great War, 11 Nov. 2014
In the century that has passed since the outbreak of World War 1, thousands - perhaps tens of thousands - of books have been written about the war, examining its history in great detail from a wide range of perspectives. So, we can hardly expect any major new revelations. Sir Max Hastings focuses on and succeeds in producing a detailed account of the events leading to the outbreak of the war and the first four months of fighting, describing the military and social impacts. To his great credit, he avoids the modern tendency to political correctness and offers forthright opinions on several subjects. These include where responsibility lay for the outbreak of the war (mainly Germany in Hastings's opinion) and the qualities of leadership of the British Expeditionary Force (in general poor and worse in the case of its leader, Sir John French).

When it comes to assessing the book, I believe it is better to draw a distinction between the overall content, balance and quality of writing and the opinions offered. Dealing with the latter first, I enjoyed the directness of Hastings's opinions even if I do not agree with some of them. They add colour to the book and are well argued and presented. I happen to agree with his biting criticism of British leadership but not with attributing the majority of the blame to Germany. In spite of his censure of Germany's leaders, Hastings writes evenly about the behaviour of German soldiers. This is all the more creditable as it is well recognized that history is written by the victors and there is a natural tendency for their views and attitudes to prevail in subsequent history while the weaknesses, faults and mistakes of the losers gain disproportionate attention.

Like most other writers, Hastings makes scant reference to Belgium's appalling record as a colonial power in Central Africa in the decades prior to war. Muscular diplomacy was practiced by most countries in western Europe throughout the second half of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th. Britain was hardly a passive bystander having built up an intimidating fleet to protect its colonial interests. If we take a systemic view of the situation in 1914 rather than a simple cause and effect perspective, the outbreak of war was an unintended consequence of multiple causal events with no single one being directly responsible. It is too simplistic to ascribe the majority of the blame to a single nation.

Turning to the content, I was struck by how marginal were the descriptions of the Battles of the Masurian Lakes and Lodz. The former merited a scant paragraph and the latter little more. In his introduction, Hastings commented that deciding which aspects of the fighting to include and which to omit was difficult. Given his readership is likely to be UK-centric, it is inevitable that his writing accordingly focuses more on the fighting in France and Belgium. Even so, given the scale of these two battles, I would have expected a little more detail, at least as much as given for the Battle of Tannenberg. Nor did I find any reference to the pursuit of SMS Goeben and SMS Breslau and the political consequences of their escape to Turkey.

But these are minor criticisms and should be set against the considerable strengths of the book. The fighting between the Austro-Hungarian and Serbian armies is discussed in nice detail. Hastings conveys especially well the courage of the soldiers directly involved in fighting and the appalling conditions under which they had to fight. His descriptions of the impact on communities through which armies passed and those directly affected by fighting are also notable. Hastings includes an interesting perspective of the important influence of the fledgling air forces even in the first months of fighting.

Overall, the descriptions of key events and personalities, blending of anecdote and formal discussion and fluency of writing make for a thoroughly enjoyable book. There are other books which may be more objective or offer greater detail on specific aspects of even this relatively short period but Hastings's book is among the best I have read on this terrible war.


The Age of Revolution: Europe, 1789-1848
The Age of Revolution: Europe, 1789-1848
by Eric Hobsbawm
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Flatters to deceive, 26 Mar. 2013
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I approached this book with considerable enthusiasm hoping for a definitive account of the series of revolutions that took place in Europe in and around 1848 as well as of the reasons for and events leading up to them. I was, however, sorely disappointed for several reasons.

First among them was the overall balance of the book. The opening descriptions of the French and Industrial Revolutions are interesting and relevant as is the discussion on the resultant developments in European society. Yet, the events of the years around 1848 merit a mere handful of pages. In contrast, four chapters - more than a quarter of the book - are devoted to the ideology of the times and to artistic and scientific development. Do these subjects deserve such attention in a book entitled "The Age of Revolution" when what appears to be its central theme is so neglected?

A second reason for my disappointment was Hobsbawm's style of writing. I note the book was first published more than 50 years ago and accept that writing styles and perhaps the very way in which history is reported have evolved in the meantime. Even so, it became frustrating to have to re-read sentences and even paragraphs several times in order to gain a proper understanding.

Another factor was the difficulty distinguishing between fact and Hobsbawm's opinion which was all the more disturbing when that opinion was idiosyncratic. I have little interest in reading a simple catalogue of events, places and dates: that is too much like history taught at school. I value an author's own interpretation of the subject but prefer that a clear distinction is made between the subjective and factual elements of a discussion.

Finally and perhaps of greatest concern were the flaws and mistakes in sections of the book dealing with science, engineering and technology. I am not qualified to comment on possible errors in other sections but I am led to question how authoritative the book is as a whole given the shortcomings in the discussions about science. This, of course, brings us back to the comments above about Hobsbawm's willingness to render his opinion as fact. That tendency is all the less justifiable when his opinion is factually incorrect.

As noted at the outset of these comments, a disappointing book in several respects. Perhaps the most damning criticism of all is that by the time I had struggled through to the end, I knew little more about "the age of revolutions" compared to when I started the book.


Finest Years: Churchill as Warlord 1940-45
Finest Years: Churchill as Warlord 1940-45
by Max Hastings
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.68

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And you thought there was nothing more to say about Churchill!, 15 Feb. 2012
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I approached this book hoping for a balanced view of Churchill's leadership in WW2. My hopes were fully realised and more. Hastings writes sympathetically about Churchill but this does not stop him being critical of his failings and mistakes of which there were more than a few. The emphasis is clearly on Churchill as a leader but there are also sufficient appearances of Churchill the man to provide emotional interest.

Hastings excels in highlighting Churchill's success as a "transformational" leader and contrasting that with failures as a "transactional" leader. (The terms transactional and transformational are taken from James MacGregor Burns's book "Leadership".) His mastery of the strategic situation and determination to support Russia in spite of his antipathy towards communism are exceedingly well described. On the other side of the coin, failures such as Churchill's intervention in tactical affairs, his attraction to commando and other special forces actions and uncomfortable personal relations with several of the people he worked with directly are also well described. Of particular note is the description of Churchill enjoying little support within the mainstream Conservative party of the day.

Hastings excels in debunking several myths about the war, notably any illusion about mutual friendships in the "special relationship" and the reputations of British military leaders, individually and a group. The special relationship is described as being very much in the US's economic interests. Interestingly, Hastings does not mention that the Lend-Lease program was cancelled almost immediately after the war under the McMahon Act, putting Britain under enormous economic pressure. Few of Britain's generals, admirals and air marshals are described in complimentary terms. Even Montgomery appears as little more than the best of a bad bunch. More revealing is the repeated lack of energy and willingness (perhaps ability) to exploit opportunities of the British Army generals in particular.

I have long been disappointed William Manchester's two-volume biography of Churchill did not extend to a third volume covering the war years. "The Finest Years" fulfills this role more than satisfactorily.


Having it So Good: Britain in the Fifties
Having it So Good: Britain in the Fifties
by Peter Hennessy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive but lacking balance, 9 Dec. 2011
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Any review of this book must surely begin by noting the comprehensive research on which it is based and the acuteness and objectivity of the author. The author focuses heavily on the government of the day, as he did in the earlier volume covering Atlee's time in office. His detailed study of Cabinet papers and other published sources is complemented by information gathered in interviews with leading civil servants and other key figures of the period. And while his empathy for certain public figures seems evident, Prof. Hennessy writes even-handedly, with detailed references to validate key facts and descriptions of events. He avoids the temptation to analyse with the benefit of hindsight and provides enough background to keep the reader aware of the sense of the mood and attitudes of the time. Dare I suggest that Prof. Hennessy has written what might equally be described as an academic history of the 1950s, accessible to laymen or a popular history that will satisfy academics.

However in spite of its length and thoroughness, I was disappointed by the overall balance of the book. There was undue emphasis on the events surrounding the development of nuclear weapons, approximately 100 pages out of the total of just over 600 pages. The impact of Butler's 1944 Education Act was discussed at some length but there was no reference to the development of education beyond England. There were repeated comments on the disproportionate spending on "defence" but no meaningful description of what this entailed, other than on nuclear weaponry, nor any discussion of structural changes in UK industry at large. There was little more than a passing mention of the changes in the trades union movement or Labour party.

I also agree with earlier comments on legibility.

Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable and very informative book. I would have valued it even more had there been a fuller description of developments in society, beyond what was happening in government.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 11, 2014 9:32 PM BST


Leonard Cohen: Live In London [DVD] [2009] [NTSC]
Leonard Cohen: Live In London [DVD] [2009] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Roscoe Beck
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £16.52

5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I'd been there, 20 July 2011
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I first saw a TV recording of this performance which kept me awake till well after midnight. The DVD was every bit as good. I just gave an extra copy I bought as a gift to some family members I was visiting. They played it daily during my visit. And I never got tired of watching and listening to it. I only wish I'd been fortunate enough to be there in person.


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